Percocet is an opioid medication that is prescribed for moderate to severe pain. Some people abuse Percocet for its perceived ability to reduce their anxiety, enhance relaxation, and create feelings of euphoria. Regular users often build up a tolerance quickly, requiring higher doses to experience the same effects as before.
The euphoric effects of Percocet combined with the rapid development of tolerance encourage increasingly higher doses of the drug, which places users at a high risk for developing dependence and, over time, addiction.
Benefits of Quitting Percocet
- Improve physical and mental health. Percocet has many side effects that range from moderate and uncomfortable to severe and life-threatening if you have pre-existing liver conditions. 1 Quitting Percocet will ensure that you avoid some of the more severe side effects as well as physiological or psychological dependence. Prolonged abstinence will also reduce the toll that past use has taken on your physical and mental health.
- Get your life back. Addiction to substances often results in erratic behavior that damages relationships and causes you to give up hobbies or activities you used to enjoy. Often, using Percocet can cause you to sabotage your educational goals and career. Part of treatment and recovery might include making amends with loved ones, and even yourself. Learning from the past and committing to moving forward can often lead to not only restoring what you may have lost, but also to deepening your appreciation for these relationships.
- Take charge of your finances.One of the most immediate benefits of quitting Percocet is that you will spend less money on feeding your addiction, which will leave more money to spend on positive activities. Some people find it encouraging to set aside a jar to place money in every time they have an urge to use or to place money in weekly that would have otherwise been spent on Percocet.
- Prevent overdose. Long-term use of Percocet increases the risk of overdose and even death.
Percocet Addiction Treatment Center and Recovery Program Options
There are various levels of care for substance abuse treatment. The right type of treatment for you will depend on what you can afford, how long you have been addicted, whether you’ve relapsed before, and whether you have co-occurring medical or mental health conditions.
- Inpatient- Inpatient care is the highest level of treatment for substance abuse . Inpatient treatment provides comprehensive care that often includes medically supervised detox; individual, group, and family therapy sessions; and a healthy and balanced diet served daily. Exercise, yoga, and relaxation classes may also be included. This setting can help you or your loved one to begin implementing new patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving that will reduce your desire to use Percocet. Residential treatment centers provide trained staff 24 hours a day and ensure a safe and controlled environment.
- Outpatient – Outpatient treatment can be a “step-down” level of care after a person has completed an inpatient program or a primary form of treatment. Partial hospitalization programs (PHP) and intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are two forms of outpatient treatment. PHP is typically 5 full days a week and usually takes place at a hospital or a treatment center. IOP typically takes place 3-5 days a week, but only runs half a day. The primary form of treatment for both programs is group therapy, but some programs may also provide individual and family therapy sessions.
- Group counseling – Group therapy is often offered in both inpatient and outpatient recovery programs for Percocet addiction. A trained therapist leads sessions on various addiction topics, including relapse prevention, relationships, and social skills.
- Individual counseling – Individual therapy is a good tool for maintaining sobriety over the long-term. This type of therapy can be useful in helping you or your loved one identify triggers or hidden beliefs, thoughts, behaviors, or emotions that may be influencing the addiction. Therapy also can help the user heal relationships that may have been damaged during active addiction. You may need to go to a few consultations before committing to a therapist, as rapport is one of the most important factors in a successful outcome.
- 12-step programs – Many people who have achieved sustained recovery from drugs or alcohol give credit to groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). These programs provide the support of a sponsor who can guide you in times when you are most vulnerable to relapse. Non-12-step programs such as SMART Recovery are alternatives to the AA approach. These groups are limited, so it is important to see if a SMART Recovery group is offered near you.
Withdrawal Symptoms and Side Effects
Symptoms usually begin 6-12 hours after the last dose.
Quitting Percocet abruptly and without supervision can lead to withdrawal symptoms that increase the likelihood of relapse. These symptoms are not life-threatening, but they can be very uncomfortable.
Withdrawal symptoms of Percocet include: 1,2,3
- Runny nose.
- Excessive tearing.
- Increased salivation.
- Dilated pupils.
- Increased sweating.
- Chills, alternating with hot flashes.
- Pain in muscles, joints, back, and abdomen.
- Loss of appetite.
- Irritability or agitation.
- Increased blood pressure.
- Increased heart rate.
- Increased respiratory rate.
How Long Does Withdrawal Last?
Withdrawal symptoms usually begin within 6-12 hours after the last dose, peak within 1-3 days, and resolve within 5-7 days. Some people may experience less acute withdrawal symptoms that can last for weeks to months. These include anxiety, depression, difficulty experiencing pleasure, and insomnia. 4
The length of time it takes to withdraw from Percocet and the severity of symptoms you may experience will depend on:
- The length of time you used Percocet.
- The average dose being taken prior to quitting.
- Pre-existing medical conditions, which can prolong the half-life of Percocet. 1
Treatment for Withdrawal
To reduce the risk of relapse and to avoid severe withdrawal symptoms, it is important to seek out a medically supervised detox program. Seeking a proper environment for detox, recovery, and follow-up care will increase your chances of success and ease the transition from addiction to sobriety.
During medically supervised detox, a physician may slowly taper your dose of Percocet or prescribe an opioid replacement medication to help stabilize you, ease withdrawal symptoms, and reduce cravings. The physician will monitor you for any complications that may occur during the detox process. After detox, the physician may taper you off the replacement medication or maintain you on a certain dose, depending on the circumstances.
Medications commonly used for Percocet detox and withdrawal include:
- Methadone – Methadone is a longer-acting opioid that has similar but less pronounced effects than Percocet. It is only available in hospitals or clinics regulated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
- Buprenorphine – Buprenorphine (also available as Suboxone, a combination formulation with naloxone) produces mild opioid effects, but it also blocks the effects of other opioids and has a built-in “ceiling effect” that limits the strength of the drug.
- Naltrexone – Naltrexone blocks the effects of other opioid drugs and is used after completion of detox to help a user remain abstinent.
Tips for Quitting Percocet
Who Answers? to speak to a rehab support representative about finding a Percocet treatment center that’s right for you.
The journey to sobriety can be long and difficult, and some people relapse multiple times before maintaining long-term sobriety.
Some things that will help you or your loved one when quitting Percocet are:
- Developing a support system. Having someone you can rely on when times are tough is one of the most important factors for long-term success. Your support system can drive you to appointments, check in with you on a regular basis, join you in activities that enhance your wellbeing, or sit with you when you feel triggered to use again. A support system should include people who are trustworthy, reliable, and drug-free. Associating with drug-using friends will distract you from your goal of quitting and can lead you back to addiction.
- Seeking a medically supervised detox. Medically supervised detox helps many people quit opioids by managing uncomfortable withdrawal effects and minimizing the risk of immediate relapse. If you or your loved one do not feel comfortable checking yourself in to a facility, or you simply cannot afford treatment, at least make an appointment with a psychiatrist or a medical doctor who can gradually take you off of Percocet and monitor you for any serious symptoms of withdrawal.
- Seeking long-term treatment for substance abuse. Recovering from substance abuse takes time. Detox followed by residential treatment and, later, aftercare measures such as support group attendance, outpatient group therapy, and ongoing individual therapy can help ensure success.
- Investing yourself in your recovery. Deciding to quit and checking yourself in to a treatment facility is not enough to recover from substance abuse. You must be willing to do all the work that is asked of you. The professionals you work with will expect you to collaborate with them on treatment goals and make an effort to complete those goals. Sticking to your treatment plan and seeking out your support system when you need it will have a significant positive impact on your long-term recovery.
- Having follow-up care in place. Follow-up care is the key to long-term sobriety, as it provides ongoing accountability, increased awareness about your struggle with addiction, and support from others who have been through addiction.
How to Help an Addict Quit
If you believe that someone you love is addicted to Percocet, look for the following signs: 4
- They are no longer participating in activities that they used to enjoy.
- They are neglecting their obligations and responsibilities at work, at home, or at school.
- They consume more Percocet than is prescribed to them.
- They spend a lot of time using or trying to get Percocet.
- They have resorted to using multiple providers or may even be buying opioids illicitly.
- They experience any of the withdrawal symptoms discussed above when they attempt to quit.
Once you have identified that someone you love needs help with Percocet use, the next step is to approach him or her with your concerns. Confronting someone about abusing substances is never easy. The person may deny that there is a problem, but this is normal behavior for someone who is addicted.
Here are some things to avoid when confronting your loved one:
- Avoid a confrontation when your loved one is intoxicated.
- Don’t approach the person when you are angry. Wait until you have calmed down and thought through the situation.
- Do not blame or yell at your loved one about his or her abuse.
- Do not use any substances around them.
- Do not enable your loved one by making excuses, taking care of his or her responsibilities, or by giving the person money. This will only encourage substance abuse.
Here are some ways to approach your loved one:
- Prepare a list of recent incidents that have led you to be concerned about your loved one.
- Identify how each of these incidents left you feeling and write it down.
- Use statements that express how you feel and avoid “you” statements.
- Have several treatment options available to discuss if the person is receptive to getting help.
- Offer your love and support, and let the person know in what capacity you can and will be there to help throughout the process of recovery.
If you do not feel comfortable talking to your loved one about his or her addiction, you can seek the help of a trained professional, such as a therapist who is certified in addiction counseling.
Can I Quit Cold Turkey? Is It Dangerous?
Quitting Percocet cold turkey is usually not life-threatening. However, it does present some risks.
- Risk of relapse. The pain and discomfort of Percocet withdrawal makes the risk of relapse extremely high. Users often experience strong cravings to use the drug and make the withdrawal symptoms stop.
- Overdose. Overdose is a concern with relapse. Withdrawal can reduce a person’s tolerance for the drug, so the person can overdose if he or she begins using again with the same dose as before.
- Medical complications. Withdrawal from opioids such as Percocet can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance from vomiting and diarrhea.
- Mental health concerns. Opioid withdrawal can cause feelings of depression, which can in turn lead to thoughts of self-harm, particularly in individuals prone to mental health conditions.
Seek out the help of a qualified professional or enter a medically supervised detox facility to ensure a more comfortable transition from abuse to abstinence. 3
Find a Rehab Center
. Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. (2006). Percocet.
. Harvard Medical School. (2009). Treating opiate addiction, part I: Detoxification and maintenance.
. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2013). Medline Plus, Opiate Withdrawal.
. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5. Washington, D.C: American Psychiatric Association.
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